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Public Health

PGDip / PGCert / MPH

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

This highly successful and innovative MPH in Public Health welcomes UK, EU and international applicants from a wide range of professions. It focuses on the health of communities as a recognised concern to a wide group of professionals. In our course, you will discover how health is related to individual biology and genetics, as well as to behavioural, social and environmental factors. We show how good health can be a right, not a privilege.

This course is suitable for those seeking a career in public health; traditionally people from clinical backgrounds and allied health professionals. Those with a non-health-related degree who have work experience in a health-related field are welcome and encouraged to apply. The course will appeal if you are seeking to broaden your knowledge and skill set, or are preparing for advancement in your field or career.

The modules are delivered in a variety of styles, using workshops, lectures, and online directed and self-directed learning. We offer a range of opportunities to gain work experience with local public health organisations.

We also offer a similar course through distance learning.

Our MSc has now become a MPH but hear what our former students have to say about studying Public Health at Oxford Brookes in the video below.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Marston Road site

Course length

  • Full time: MPH: 12 months (September start only)
  • Part time: MPH: up to 3 years. For PGDip and PGCert, please contact the Programme Administrator.

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Gain an advanced education in public health that is fit for the 21st-century, reflecting the growing significance of non-communicable diseases in all world regions, alongside a traditional focus on communicable and infectious disease
  • Demonstrate and critically evaluate integrated knowledge, skills and values that will underpin action, reflection and evaluation of your public health practice 
  • Learn to critically evaluate public health research evidence and develop a solid grounding in research methods as a basis for future research training and degrees
  • Choice of modules to tailor your studies to your interests
  • Apply the public health knowledge gained on the course into your future workplaces and bring new and improved perspectives to a range of professions
  • Develop key competencies so that you are well placed to further your career within the UK Faculty of Public Health specialist training framework.  

Full-time students start in September and the modules follow a specific sequence starting with Foundations in Public Health, Data Analysis and Interpretation, and Applied Research Methods, followed in January by Epidemiology. The sequence of further modules will depend on the selected track.

Part-time students can start in either September or January.

Students who enter in January start the programme with Epidemiology and Applied Research Methods, studying Foundations in Public Health and Data Analysis and Interpretation in September.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules you choose from may vary from that shown below.

The compulsory modules for the PGCert are as follows: 

Foundations in Public Health
20 credits at level 7
This module explores historic and current trends in public health, with an emphasis on the reduction of health inequalities and the causes of premature death through pre-emptive action. Weekly units will examine the key determinants of health including environmental, behavioural, socio-economic, cultural and disease factors. Global perspectives are integrated into each unit providing knowledge and skills that demonstrate cross-cultural awareness, and valuing human diversity. 


20 credits at level 7
This module provides you with an introduction to the concepts and methods of epidemiology and its application in primary and community health. It covers the principles of epidemiological research, provides an overview of different study designs and when each design is indicated, drawing on real-life examples. It also covers the interpretation of results of epidemiological studies, explains sources of bias and confounding and different methods of statistical measurements used in epidemiology. No prior statistical experience is required, however familiarity with quantitative data would be an advantage.

Data Analysis and Interpretation
20 credits at level 7
This module allows you to understand and evaluate statistical data using SPSS software. You will also gain an understanding of how appropriate statistical techniques are chosen for a particular context and present and interpret statistical information in a report. You will need to participate in the workshop / lectures and gain a minimum of 50% in the coursework submitted at the end of Semester 1 of each academic year.

The PGDip follows the same programme as the MPH without the Applied Research Methods and Dissertation modules.

The compulsory modules for MPH are:

Public Health Policy
20 credits at level 7
This module considers the context and techniques involved in global public health policy development, the factors influencing evidence-based public health policy and its impact on the health and wellbeing of specific populations and groups. It explores ideological frameworks that impact on organisation perspectives and policy making, with an emphasis on the policy process and assessment of policy impacts. 

Advanced Health Promotion
20 credits at level 7
This module explores theoretical and practical aspects of health promotion, including how to develop action plans for health promotion. You will be introduced to behavioural theory as it relates to changes in health behaviour and lifestyle, as well as looking at the larger social dimensions related to lifestyle. The module will also provide you with tools for assessing community health needs, planning health promotion activities, and considering the advantages and disadvantages of engaging communities in developing their own healthy lifestyles.

Applied Research Methods
10 credits at level 7
This module focuses on research as part of a body of evidence used for professional practice and provides you with an overview of methodologies and methods currently used in research in health and social care working environments. It equips you with skills to locate, appraise and apply research, and to plan and execute a piece of research work. It seeks to prepare you to develop a suitable research question as a basis for identifying an appropriate research methodology for a small-scale research-based literature review. By the end of the module, you will be able to prepare a rationale for your chosen research project.

50 credits at level 7
The aim of this module is to draw together and enhance your ability to use the knowledge, understanding and skills developed previously across the whole programme (especially Applied Research Methods) in a piece of investigative or literature-based research. You will be expected to demonstrate the ability to define a clearly focused research issue, as well as a wide appreciation of the context of the chosen topic. Research methods may vary considerably and you will work with an individual supervisor to evolve a methodology appropriate to the chosen topic. The subsequent inquiry should be based on systematic reading and data collection (as appropriate) and be accompanied by an awareness of the direct implications of the research to Professional Practice and Policy as well as other research in the area.

Optional modules:

Communicable Diseases and Public Health
20 credits at level 7
This module helps you to develop a sound knowledge and understanding of the complexity of communicable diseases in the context of public health. This practice-focused module examines the history, causes and epidemiology of communicable diseases from a broad public health perspective. Associated morbidity and mortality, nationally, internationally and globally are considered together with trends in established and emerging infections. Methods to prevent and control infection are explored including outbreak management, using surveillance, screening and vaccination strategies. 

Leadership in Health and Social Care
20 credits at level 7
This module gives you the opportunity to develop and apply the knowledge, conceptual and practice skills needed to be an effective leader within health and social care environments, both in the public and private sector. Through a range of assessment and learning opportunities such as coaching, seminar/group work and guided personal study, you will deepen your awareness of key theories and the research evidence on leadership practice and its application at a personal, organisational and inter-organisational level.

Evidence-Based Social Intervention
20 credits at level 7
This module asks you to explore the research literature on evidence-based and developmentally appropriate psychosocial interventions with children and adolescents, and to identify their strengths and limitations. It also looks at the role of cognitive-behavioural and other brief therapies in meeting identified need.

Note: the availability of modules is dependent on sufficient student numbers.

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, Virtual Learning Environment Activities (VLE) and project work. Some modules include group presentations.

Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, each module involving approximately 200 hours of student effort. Teaching might be by blended learning or face-to-face contact.

This study programme is designed to meet many of the core competencies identified in the UK Public Health specialist training curriculum from the UK Faculty of Public Health. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme together with the focus on critical self-reflection and interpersonal skills teaches you to work effectively at an advanced level within public health and interprofessional teams.

Blended learning is used effectively across the programme to impart knowledge and promote discussion as well as to enable you to develop digital and information literacy. Teaching staff are actively engaged in Public Health research.

Our students come from a variety of health and social care professions locally, from across the UK and internationally, including those working in health care, social services, environmental health, local government and the voluntary sector. Those from the UK and non-European countries are provided with opportunities to share and debate the challenges of public health within developed and developing countries.

A collaborative programme of public health workshops are also currently facilitated by staff from the Public Health team across Local Authority and NHS sites which provide a more sustainable approach to CPD development for various levels of public health professionals. Further information concerning these (non-accredited) courses is available on the faculty website.

Contributions from external visiting lecturers provide current perspectives from key domains of public health, for example, health improvement (NICE), health protection (Oxfam) and service improvement (Local Authorities). These external connections are extremely beneficial and well received adding valuable opportunities for you to gain insight and potential experience within these organisations.

Approach to assessment

Each module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written or design work, and to some extent on verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers,  verbal presentations, workshop and practical exercises.

Course structure

A PG Cert is 60 Credits at Level 7

A PG Dip is 120 Credits at Level 7
An MPH is 180 Credits at Level 7, which is the equivalent of 9 Modules.

Attendance pattern

Public Health modules usually run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £9,180 2020/21: £9,360

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £1,020 per single module 2020/21: £1,040 per single module

International - full time: 2019/20: £14,050 2020/21: £14,500

For information there are 9 single modules to pay for in a full masters programme

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

A limited number of scholarships are offered by Oxford Brookes University. Applicants who have been offered a full-time place on this master’s course are eligible to apply for the following scholarships:

John Henry Brookes Scholarship

The John Henry Brookes Scholarship is awarded to home/EU and international applicants for academic excellence. Each scholarship will be paid towards the tuition fee for a taught master's degree. The awards do not include a maintenance grant.


Please contact the Programme Administrator to find out whether funding is available to assist with costs. Self-funding applicants are also welcome to apply.

General sources of information about finance and financial support for international applicants can be found at: www.brookes.ac.uk/international/finance

All applicants (UK, EU and international) will be required to provide details of their funding arrangements prior to enrolment on the course.

Entry requirements

  • You will need a UK or overseas degree from a recognised institution. 
  • You will need at least six months work experience in a public health related field.
  • You will be asked to write a 500-700 word statement expressing why you want to study Public Health and how you anticipate it will advance your career (this form will be sent out to you as a condition of offer).
  • See also our English language requirements below.

English language requirements

Applicants will be required to demonstrate one or more of the following (or equivalents):

  • British Council IELTS: level 7.0 or above 
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English; Grade A or B
  • O-level English Language or GCSE English Language : Grade A or B
  • O-level Maths or GCSE: Grade A or B or equivalent
  • Oxford Brookes University English Language Level 4 – pass.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Experience in the Public Health field is essential.

Please note only the September start (full-time) is available to international students.

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

International applicants will:

  • need to apply early to allow enough time for obtaining visas if offered a place
  • be asked to pay a deposit of £1,000 to secure a place on the course.

Applications are dealt with on a first come, first served basis, so please act early to avoid disappointment.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

The course helps you to develop your skills in:

  • digital literacy with the use of the virtual learning environment
  • communication and team working through group working and assessed presentations
  • understanding statistics packages and their application to public health practice.
There are opportunities to meet Public Health professionals to enable networking.


You will be expertly equipped to move forward in assessing health impact, planning appropriate interventions and understanding public health policy in general. Our modular based system allows you the flexibility to study at a pace to suit you and your current professional commitments, enabling you to open up the boundaries of your career without taking a break.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

All our courses adopt a student-centred approach to teaching and learning and are strongly focused on encouraging you to attain your full potential as lifelong learners.

There is a range of support mechanisms available, including academic advisers, who will facilitate your academic development, and student support co-ordinators, who provide a drop-in service for queries about any aspect of student life, covering both academic and personal welfare.

The University’s support services include Upgrade, which provides advice on study skills such as planning and writing essays, assignments and dissertations, research, or preparing for an exam. They also give advice on statistics and maths. There is a dedicated Student Disability and Dyslexia Service, which provides support for students with disabilities including sensory and mobility impairments, dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, mental health problems and medical conditions. Here, staff offer advice and support on a range of issues, including physical access, funding, alternative assessment arrangements and liaison with teaching staff to ensure that they are aware of your requirements.

For many students, this course is a return to study after a long break from education. Therefore, during this programme we also offer sessions on academic writing, finding literature, and effective study techniques.

We also encourage students to support each other through a Public Health Society and we invite students to a range of seminars by researchers from Oxford Brookes and other UK universities.

EU/International students

As a new EU or international student you will join the Academic and Cultural Orientation Programme, which has been set up to enable you to make a smooth transition into study at the university. Within the sessions, you will explore the culture of the university, which will assist you in developing the appropriate academic skills required for your programme of study. The university also provides a comprehensive range of support networks and services to EU/international students. For more information, go to www.brookes.ac.uk/international/support

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

In the Research Excellence Framework  (REF) 2014, 98% of our research in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy was rated as internationally recognised, with 82% being world leading or internationally excellent. 

Research areas and clusters